Endurance Racing News and Stories

Rossi 'not sure' if he's fast enough for Hypercar

Phil Oakley

Motorcycle racing legend and current BMW WRT factory driver Valentino Rossi is ‘not sure’ whether he’s fast enough to race in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s Hypercar class, he told The Racing Line.

“For sure, [Hypercar] is the top class and I’d love to race there in the future,” he told assembled reporters at the most recent WEC round at Imola, not far from where the Italian was born and raised.

“And I think I will try the BMW Hypercar at the end of this season, I hope, in the one day of testing. I’m very curious to understand. But after racing with the Hypercars, I don’t know if I’m fast enough, because in Hypercar you have the top, top driver in the world.

“But anyway, before we try to do a test, and after we try to understand. I think it is a great car to drive,” he concluded.

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Rossi made his debut in WEC earlier this year, driving the #46 BMW WRT M4 GT3 alongside Maxime Martin and Ahmad Al Harthy. After finishing fourth at the opening race in Qatar, Rossi took his debut WEC podium in Imola, finishing second in a BMW WRT 1-2, behind the sister #31 car.

Rossi drives a BMW M4 GT3 alongside Maxime Martin and Ahmad Al Harthy. Image: BMW M Team WRT

The motorcycle racing legend has been racing cars since he retired from MotoGP competition in 2021. He raced an Audi R8 LMS Evo for Team WRT in 2022, in GT World Challenge Europe, switching to BMW for 2023 when the team received factory support from the Munich-based manufacturer.

He took his first win, alongside Martin, at Misano in 2023, with the pair finishing fifth in the championship with further podiums at Brands Hatch and Zandvoort.

But the WEC is a different kettle of fish, which includes Le Mans, a race Rossi has always wanted to compete in.

“I’m very very excited about Le Mans. Because when I started to race cars, this was my first target. I want to race the 24 Hours of Le Mans, because it’s the most famous race in the world.

“And also, I had a very, very good feeling last year, because I did the short race. And I tried, for the first time, the long circuit. They feel very good because you are always very fast, you have a lot of adrenaline and I think that is a great track to do a 24-hour,” said the 46-year-old.

Interestingly, the video game Gran Turismo is how Rossi’s interest in racing at Le Mans started.

“It started with the simulator, the video game Gran Turismo,” he told The Racing Line.

“I play Gran Turismo from 25, 26 years ago. You know I race with the motorcycle, but when I was at home I always used the simulator. So have the 24 Hours of Le Mans, you have Bathurst, you have the Nordschleife, and you have Spa, because we never race with the motorcycle in Spa.

“So I always like to drive cars, and my passion for endurance racing started from that.”

Rossi celebrating with his teammates on the podium at Imola. Image: BMW M Team WRT
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